- The Washington Times - Monday, September 21, 2009

Looking to get dinner on the table fast? Put it on a stick.

Cutting meats and vegetables into smaller bits and then threading them onto skewers can reduce cooking time dramatically because there is no thick center for the heat to reach. A pound of chicken breasts left whole will take far longer to cook than the same amount of meat cubed and skewered.

The texture of the meat also benefits. Because cooking time is less, the meat — especially pork and chicken — dries out less.

In this recipe for pork satay, boneless country-style ribs are cut into chunks and given a quick marinade before landing on the grill. They also could be cooked on a grill pan or under the broiler.

An easy apple chutney can accompany the pork. To save even more time, skip that part of the recipe and use purchased mango chutney.

Pork satay with apple chutney
Start to finish: 40 minutes
Servings: 5

For the pork:
1/4 cup cider vinegar
1/4 cup canola oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
Pinch nutmeg
1 1/4 pounds country-style pork ribs, cut into 1/2-inch chunks

For the sauce:
1 large yellow onion, cut into quarters
2 tablespoons pickled jalapeno pepper slices
3/4 cup loosely packed fresh cilantro leaves
3/4 cup (about 4 ounces) dried apricots
2 medium apples, peeled, cored and chopped
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
2 tablespoons grated fresh ginger
1/3 cup cider vinegar
1/4 cup light brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 cup water

Place 10 wooden skewers in a shallow bowl of water to soak.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the vinegar, oil, garlic, salt, pepper, ginger and nutmeg. Add the pork, toss to coat, then set aside.

Meanwhile, in a food processor combine the onion, jalapeno slices, cilantro and dried apricots. Pulse until just chopped. Transfer to a medium saucepan over medium-high. Stir in the apples, cloves, ginger, vinegar, brown sugar, salt, black pepper and water.

Bring to a simmer and cook, stirring often, until the liquid is mostly evaporated, about 12 minutes. Set aside.

Heat a grill to medium-high. Coat the grates with oil.

While the chutney cools, thread chunks of pork onto each skewer. Grill, turning for even cooking, until the pork reaches 160 degrees Fahrenheit at the center, about 5 minutes. Serve the pork skewers with the chutney.

Nutrition information per serving (values are rounded to the nearest whole number): 446 calories, 218 calories from fat; 24 g fat (8 g saturated; 0 g trans fats), 78 mg cholesterol; 36 g carbohydrate; 21 g protein; 4 g fiber; 499 mg sodium.

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